What does a nephrology social worker do?
The kidneys are a bit like the Janitors of the body, cleaning out toxins and keeping the blood pure. When the kidneys fail, machines can take over, but the treatments can be lengthy, expensive, and a bit frightening. A Nephrology Social Worker can help with the mental toll that kidney disease takes. Patients with severe kidney disease can talk about their frustrations, fears, and concerns with a Nephrology Social Worker, and get the help they need to stick to a kidney treatment program.
Patients are often diagnosed during a hospital stay, and that’s where you visit them when you’re a Nephrology Social Worker. These newly diagnosed patients may have specific questions about their condition, and you take hours to listen to them and respond carefully. At the end of the session, you develop a treatment plan to help them.
When a patient returns to the hospital for kidney treatments, you make it a point to visit them in the treatment room, just to make sure they’re adjusting well. If patients skip their treatments, you call or visit them to encourage them to return.
Patients may also benefit from community programs, so you sign them up. If your patient can’t drive, you look for volunteer programs that can chauffeur them to and from appointments.
The Doctor remains in charge of the patient’s care, but you make sure to keep the Doctor up to date on your work. Each week, you write a report for the Doctor, and you don’t hesitate to follow up with a phone call if you find changes that are truly alarming.